When they heard the sound of the LORD God moving about in the garden at the breezy time of the day, the man and his wife hid themselves from the LORD God among the trees of the garden.

Growing up with 6 other siblings had its advantages and disadvantages. Advantage – we always had someone to play with. Rain or shine, snow or heat of the summer, we would always be playing some sort of game. Kickball, baseball, wiffleball, basketball, football, soccer, ghost in the grave yard, spud, hide-n-seek, red rover, crack the whip…I think you’re getting the idea – a true advantage with 7 kids in a family.

The disadvantage to that was not IF you screwed up doing something but WHEN you screwed up doing something, you also 6 siblings at the ready to “tell on you” so they could enjoy watching someone else get punished by Mom or Dad. Sound cruel? Eh, it was all part of the game we called life. So what is my point?

Well, after you screwed up and you knew you were going to be punished, you hid. Under a bed, climbed a tree in the apple orchard, at times, pulled the lid off the sewer and cowered down in the “tunnel” under the street (which, by the way was always a cool place to be in the summer – literally, it never got hot in the sewer.) Heck, we had one brother who may have just set a world record for running away from home (only to be back in time for dinner). Long story longer, we were afraid of the punishment that was going to be handed down to us and thought if we hid, nothing would come of it. As it turns out, we were just carrying on a tradition that started with Adam and Eve.

They just had to eat from the tree that God had forbid them to eat from and as soon as they took that bite of the forbidden fruit, they knew they had done wrong. They heard the Lord coming and did what any human would do – ran and hid from Him. And so it is that we carry on this tradition today.

We lie, we cheat, we steal, we kill, we abort, we wage all sorts of wrong doing and once we do these and realize the wrong we’ve done, we run and hide for fear of punishment. Kind of a gloomy thought to start our day today, right?

It would be if the story ended there. You say “Jerry, I’ve read the first reading from the Mass this morning and that’s exactly where it ends.” I say – now read the Psalm…

R. (1a) Blessed are those whose sins are forgiven.
Blessed is he whose fault is taken away,
whose sin is covered.
Blessed the man to whom the LORD imputes not guilt,
in whose spirit there is no guile. 
Blessed are those whose sins are forgiven.
Then I acknowledged my sin to you,
my guilt I covered not.
I said, “I confess my faults to the LORD,” 
and you took away the guilt of my sin. 
Blessed are those whose sins are forgiven. 
For this shall every faithful man pray to you 
in time of stress.
Though deep waters overflow,
they shall not reach him. 
Blessed are those whose sins are forgiven.
You are my shelter; from distress you will preserve me;
with glad cries of freedom you will ring me round. 
Blessed are those whose sins are forgiven.

I learned something important at a retreat the other day. Don’t let your sin define you. We are human and we sin but we are also children of God and as long as we seek God’s forgiveness, we don’t allow sin to be our defining factor. I looked up the entire 32nd Psalm this morning and I want to put in another verse that wasn’t included in this mornings response; they are the 3rd & 4th verses…

3Because I kept silent,* my bones wasted away;

I groaned all day long. b

4For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;

my strength withered as in dry summer heat.

If you notice, there is an asterisk after the word silent, which leads to footnote at the end of the Psalm…

* [32:3I kept silent: did not confess the sin before God.

So my point to all of this is don’t hide from the Lord when you’ve done something wrong. We have a great gift He has given us in the sacrament of confession. We are all human and we will all sin, but don’t let that sin define who you are – let God wash that guilt away and the person who God made you define who you are.

Do something great for our Lord today – come out of your hiding place and be with our Lord.

God’s will, not mine, be done.

Be not afraid; just have faith.

Jesus, I trust in You.

He must increase; I must decrease.

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